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Ascendant MC Yugen Blakrok releases sophomore album, Anima Mysterium,




South African MC Yugen Blakrok just debuted her highly anticipated sophomore album, Anima Mysterium on I.O.T. Records. The album follows the release of two lead cuts, “Carbon Form” and “Picture Box” released earlier this winter.

On Anima Mysterium, Yugen delivers her nuanced rhymes with trademark fortitude and finesse over blunted and dusty instrumentals by Kanif the Jhatmaster and Joel Assaizky that effectively evoke the 1990s rap that influenced her. Adding her own metaphysical spin to the beats, Yugen fearlessly and skillfully dissects society, spirituality, and the collective unconscious.

“Gorgon Madonna” opens the album with a witchy incantation, while “Obsidian Night” has a melancholy, ominous feeling. There’s a bluesy swing to “Hibiscus” and “Morbid Abakus” cruises along on a hypnotic downtempo groove. “Monatomic Mushroom” builds on a brooding guitar lick as “Carbon Form” kicks with a hip-hop vibe. Eccentric icon Kool Keith delivers an otherworldly feature on “Mars Attacks.” Cinematic pieces like “Hydra” offer a glimpse into the breadth of Yugen’s sonic imagination. The narcoleptic dirge “Ochre” lingers long after the song ends. The jazzy static on “Land of Gray” closes the album like a coded transmission from a parallel dimension.

“Kanif started working on this album shortly after Return of the Astro-Goth, in-between tours and other projects we were working on at the time,” Yugen says. “I already had an idea of what I wanted to make and getting Kanif to create a soundscape fitting for the ideas and concepts I was exploring wasn’t hard. We got Joel to send in some beats and one of those ended up being ‘Carbon Form’. The great thing about working with Joel is that he’d done some remixes for me in the past and also mastered both albums, so that familiarity added a great vibe to the project. The third producer featured on the album is Seventh Galaxy; we’ve also been working closely together over the last few years. On this album, he co-produced ‘Obsidian Night’ with Kanif.”

Other contributors include turntablists Raiko, DJ Koncept, and DJ KCL. Ralph Smit from the Swaziland duo, Mr. Freddy, features on trumpet and Mauritz Muller on guitar. Iapetus Records label mates Zetina Mosia, BraveStarr and Fifi the RaiBlaster supply additional vocals, while guest emcees include Historian Himself, Jak Tripper and Kool Keith whom Yugen cites as a muse.

Firmly established as an underground phenomenon, Yugen Blakrok caught massive mainstream attention when she appeared on “Opps” alongside Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar on the Black Panther soundtrack in 2018. Anima Mysterium proves that the fascination is well-deserved.

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Turnstile makes strong debut on Billboard charts



Turnstile by Jimmy Fontaine

Turnstile released their widely-anticipated new album, “Glow On” last week and has received high praise. The body of work debuted at #30 on the Billboard 200 chart and #8 in Current Album Sales on Alternative Albums chart with 5.1 million streams across streaming services worldwide.

Recorded with producer Mike Elizondo and co-produced by Turnstile vocalist Brendan Yates, Glow On finds the band once again charting new ground for hardcore, expanding stylistic boundaries, and celebrating new possibilities. The album boasts 15 tracks devoid of borders, boundaries, or entry obstacles, only abundant imagination, heart, and grooves plucked from all corners of the musical spectrum.

Bringing superhuman energy to the stage, Turnstile is currently out on a run of sold-out headline dates, which continues tomorrow August 28th in Garden Grove, CA, and concludes with a hometown performance on September 16th in Baltimore, MD. Later this fall they are set for a series of festival performances, including Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival (9/23), Louisville, Kentucky’s Louder Than Life (9/24), Indianola, Iowa’s Knotfest (9/25), and more with a nationwide tour alongside $uicideboy$, Chief Keef, Slowthai and more kicking off on October 1st in Alpharetta, GA at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre. Full Tour dates can be found here.

Take a listen to the full album here

Glow On album artwork

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Artist Mndsgn Announces new Mini-Series Ringoo In Colour



episode still

On the heels of Mndsgn’s latest album Rare Pleasure, he returns to announce a new mini-series and release its first episode. Ringgo in Colour aims to show a different side of the artist and unpack his various influences, as the first episode dives into his love of illustration, the artist himself creating all the artwork for the album cover and singles. Shot and directed by Ross Harris.

Speaking on his aim with the series, Mndsgn says, “the world isn’t so black & white, rather a vast spectrum of hues. This is just Ringgo in colour.”

Director Ross Harris adds, “I feel like Ringgo approaches his art whether it be music or drawing or paint from a place of playful curiosity but always ends up someplace deep and truly resonant. I aspire to the same process.”

Ringgo in Colour also includes appearances from Devin Morrison, who is in Ringgo’s live band and sings on the record, and arrives after the aforementioned Rare Pleasure was released earlier this month via Stones Throw Records. Mndsgn’s third album on the label, the record, which SPIN called “a monument to life’s basic delights,” truly shows the artist’s evolution from his roots as a heralded beatmaker to vocalist, songwriter, and arranger.

Though he began writing for the album in 2018, the final recordings took just a week in studio with the help of trusted collaborators: Swarvy on bass, guitar and as Musical Director for the sessions, Stones Throw label mate Kiefer Shackelford on keys, drum work by Will Logan, the blessed percussion of Carlos Niño, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on strings, and accompanying vocals from Fousheé and Anna Wise.

The follow-up to 2016’s Body Wash, Rare Pleasure includes the previously-released singles “Medium Rare,” “Slowdance” and “Hope You’re Doin’ Better” and follows his virtual release show and his two sold-out shows at The Lodge Room in LA earlier this month. Inspired by soundtrack music, samba, exotica and ’70s/’80s library records, the album is intensely intimate, sourcing lyrics from Mndsgn’s family and interpersonal experiences, and reflective of the world at large. Despite the tenderness of the recordings, the music is joyfully vibrant and draws on Mndsgn’s formative experiences as a b-boy, showcasing a range of rhythms that will make you want to groove. Take a listen to Rare Pleasure here.

Mndsgn Rare PleasureStones Throw RecordsJune 4, 2021

1. Rare Pleasure I

2. Truth Interlude

3. 3Hands : Divine Hand I

4. Hope You’re Doin’ Better

5. Rare Pleasure II

6. Slowdance

7. Abundance

8. Masque

9. Rare Pleasure III

10. Medium Rare

11. Rare Pleasure IV

12. Colours Of The Sunset

13. Divine Hand II

Watch the first episode of Ringgo in Colour here.

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Rema drops Afrobeat track dedicated to women around the globe



Rema by Niyi Okeowo

For the third week in a row, Rema is set to release “anotha banga.” Dropping on Mavin Records/Jonzing World, “Woman” is a song that expresses his appreciation and admiration for all females. 

Recently crowned Apple Music’s Up Next artist – previously awarded to Billie Eilish, Khalid & H.E.R – Afropop’s prince Rema has now released a trio of singles throughout June and July. He kicked things off with “Ginger Me,” a song created in a late-night studio session in London with UK producer The Elements. Quickly followed by trap-influenced track “Alien” which took us on a trippy journey through the mind of a young heartbreaker. 

Crediting his parents for introducing him to Fela Kuti & 2Face, Rema draws influences far beyond West Africa with Bollywood, Trap, Afrobeats, and Pop all becoming part of his trademark sound. With co-signs from the likes of Drake, Barack Obama and now Rihanna, Rema is on his way for a global takeover.

Stream “Woman” via Spotify below.

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